Magazine article The Spectator

Cinema: Fifty Shades of Grey

Magazine article The Spectator

Cinema: Fifty Shades of Grey

Article excerpt

Fifty Shades of Grey

18, Nationwide

And so, in the end, I went with my sister, Toni, to see Fifty Shades of Grey and we saw it at noon on Valentine's Day at the Odeon in Muswell Hill. In the audience on that particular day at that particular time there were eight other women, all around our age, and all on their own. The Fifty Shades phenomenon has been described as 'soft porn for middle-aged housewives' and it's said as an insult, but it sounds rather good to my sister and me. Indeed, after what feels like a lifetime of pairing socks and putting meals on the table and basically performing the role of main drudge at Drudge Central we feel we deserve a little soft porn and who knows, if we like it, we could work our way up to hard porn? My sister and I have never seen any hard porn, but as we understand it, a man comes round to deliver pizza and it all kicks off from there. Is that right? If so, what we'd most like to know is: afterwards, does he tidy up the empty boxes and put them out for recycling, or will he expect us to do it? It's important that we're told.

So this is where we are coming from, my sister and I, as we settle into our seats, while resolutely not making eye contact with any of the other women, as seems to be the form. The story, we now know, concerns a young lady, Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), who falls in love with a handsome billionaire (Jamie Dornan) who will prove sadistic, albeit lovingly so. They first meet when Anastasia is dispatched to interview him for her student newspaper but the big, clumsy chump -- she trips over the threshold to his swish office, can you believe? -- forgets to bring a pen and so he offers her one of his pencils. The pencil is shiny and sharp and has 'Grey' written down the side of it and she nibbles on the end, almost as if it were a penis, God forbid. Mr Grey then pursues Ms Steele, sending her first edition Thomas Hardy novels. Ms Steele is an English student and self-declared 'book-lover' and if there is one thing I will take away from this film -- aside from 'anal fisting', which I had to look up, and made me quite nostalgic for the simple business of sock pairing -- it's that you don't need to provide any evidence you are well read, or have even ever picked up a book, to self-declare yourself a 'book-lover.' If we had known this, my sister and I agree, we could have saved on reading many, many books over the years. …

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